I’ve been mulling over my body image recently, especially these 15 positive body image bible verses and how they impact not just my view of myself, but my relationship with God.
I’m not a counselor. I’m not an eating disorder survivor. I can’t speak to the extremes of body dysmorphia or the deep pain and struggles on the farther reaches of the body image issue spectrum.
What I can speak to is where I live, where I believe most of us live, somewhere in the middle ground. The culturally accepted norm of pervasive, persistent discontentment and dissatisfaction with our bodies.
As I’ve thought and prayed about this personally, and discussed it with friends and peers, I’ve noticed that the cliché answers and compliments fell short for me, and them. I didn’t feel well equipped for my battle for positive body image, and it is a battle
Why does positive body image matter?
Not just because I want to feel good about myself, but that is one reason. I mean, who likes feeling bad about themselves? Who enjoys being discontent or being constantly distracted by your own shortcomings?
But I don’t want to feel good about myself, just for the sake of feeling good about myself.
I want to feel good about myself because of what that feeling will enable me to become. The best version of me.
Low body confidence is a problem world-wide. 1 in 3 teenagers withdraw from classroom debate because they don’t want to draw attention to the way that they look. 1 in 5 are not showing up to class at all on days they don’t feel confident. And when it comes to exams, if you don’t think you look good enough, specifically not thin enough, you will score a lower grade point average than your peers that are not concerned with this, regardless of how much you actually weigh. And we don’t out grow it. Did you know that 17% of women would not show up for a job interview on a day they did not feel confident about the way that they look? (“Meaghan Ramsey: Why Thinking You Are Ugly Is Bad For You”, Ted 2014)
I want to show up to my life.
I don’t want to miss or skip out on opportunities or shrink back because I’m distracted by the size of my thighs or ashamed about the rolls at my waist. But that’s exactly what we do. We shrink back. We hold back the best of ourselves, the shining light within is hidden because of our preoccupation with our looks.
I need to battle for a positive body image because a negative body image is painful, yes. And, yes, of course, I need to fight for body confidence so I don’t pass on my body image struggles to my daughters. But I also need to seek a positive body image because a negative body image keeps me from fulfilling my potential. As a Christian, that terrifies me.
What if my preoccupation with my weight so distracted me that I missed opportunities to minister to others? What if I was so consumed with thoughts about how I looked I missed out on crucial lessons in a sermon?
What if I stayed home from a divine appointment because I felt fat that day? What if I didn’t speak up at a bible study because I didn’t want to draw attention to my looks? What if I didn’t perform well in ministry, school, or work because I didn’t believe I was thin enough, regardless of my size?
What if I was so distracted by my shape that I completely missed out on my God-given purpose & calling?
That is when it hit me. The disabling distraction of negative body image. The way the Enemy can use it, has used it, in my life to keep me from being a potent, powerful servant of God. By distracting me and disabling me from becoming all I was intended to be in Jesus. By overwhelming me with discontent and dissatisfaction with a God-given gift, my body.
Oh sisters. This is a battle. It is one that matters. You and I, we were meant to serve our God and complete good works that He has prepared for us. Let’s not allow our discontentment, dissatisfaction, and distractions disable us from completing our callings.
Until I am content and confident in my body, my journey is not complete. The Enemy can have a foothold in my heart and mind when I harbor insecurities, even “culturally acceptable” ones. Let’s pray for one another as we seek freedom from body dissatisfaction and discontentment, replacing it with body acceptance and gratitude.
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